Methodology: how it's all worked out

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The Independent Online

The guide contains 113 universities again this year, including several new ones: Glyndwr University, University for the Creative Arts, The Arts Institute at Bournemouth, Norwich University College of the Arts, Trinity University College, Carmarthen, and UHI Millennium Institute.

Regrettably, a few institutions (Anglia Ruskin, Liverpool Hope, London Metropolitan, Swansea Metropolitan and West of Scotland) asked to be omitted. Some universities have been deliberately omitted because their student intake is largely or wholly postgraduate. These include Cranfield, and London and Manchester Business Schools.

The Open University does not appear because its students are part-time distance learners, while Birbeck is not included because its students are part-time. The University of Buckingham is included in the subject tables, which are displayed on-line, but does not appear in the main league tables because of incomplete data.

The main table on page 3 was compiled by giving each university a score on nine measures. Two of the categories, student satisfaction and research assessment, were given more importance than the other seven by being weighted by 1.5. All data is for 2007-8 unless stated.

Student satisfaction (with a maximum score of five) is based on the average score of the first four sections of the National Student Survey 2008. This measures satisfaction with learning.

has changed this year, and is based on the grade point average of the research profiles for submitted staff.

corresponds to the average UCAS tariff score for new first degree students aged under 21 on entry.

is the average number of students for each member of the academic staff.

is the average amount spent on libraries, computers, galleries and museums over the three years to 2007-2008 per full-time student.

is the amount spend on student and staff facilities, such as student union buildings and health centres, over the three years to 2007-2008 per student.

refers to the percentage of first degree graduates gaining first or upper second class honours

relates to the percentage of UK-domiciled first degree graduates from 2006-2007 going on to graduate-level employment or further study.

means the percentage of full-time first-degree students starting in 2005-2006 who are expected to complete their course on time or to transfer elsewhere.


Data for the subject tables, which are on the Complete University Guide website, are the same as for the main table, except that only four measures are used: student satisfaction, research assessment, entry standards and graduate prospects. The calculation of the overall score is also the same except that there is no need for any subject mix adjustment and all four measures are given equal weight. If one of the four criteria is missing for a subject, the overall score is calculated with that measure excluded.

Go to for more details on the sources and methodology used. Much of the data is from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, which accepts no responsibility for conclusions drawn from it.